China hits US, Canada with sanctions as Xinjiang fallout grows

China hits US, Canada with sanctions as Xinjiang fallout grows

A row over allegations of human rights violations in China escalated when Beijing announced retaliatory sanctions against people in the United States and Canada and the corporate fallout spread.

Tensions have erupted over reports that forced labor is used to harvest cotton in western Xinjiang province, accusations Beijing routinely rejects as politically motivated lies.

Hennes & Mauritz AB stores in parts of China are closed by their owners after the Swedish fashion retailer’s comments on Xinjiang prompted an unofficial boycott. Japanese brands Muji and Uniqlo found themselves embroiled in the dispute this week, while based in Oregon From Nike Inc. shares sank as investors feared the potential impact on its Chinese business.

Then on Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against a Canadian lawmaker and parliamentary human rights committee, as well as the heads of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, known as USCIRF. . Earlier in the week, the commission welcomed the coordinated sanctions of Chinese officials by the United States, Canada and European countries for the treatment that China has reserved for its ethnic Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

‘Burnt fingers’

The Chinese measures were taken in response to sanctions announced a week ago by the United States and Canada which were “based on rumors and disinformation,” the foreign ministry said in a statement released on its website. website. The Chinese government is “firmly determined” to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges the parties concerned “to clearly understand the situation and correct their mistakes,” he said.

The Xinjiang controversy comes on top of a wider standoff between China and the United States and its allies that took root under Donald Trump and hardened under the Biden administration. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described China as “the world’s greatest geopolitical test”.


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